ABOUT METHANE: Methane sources such as cows, oceans, wetlands, and natural gas pipes have more impact on the global atmosphere than previously thought. Methane was released along with oil in the Deepwater Horizon spill and even seeps naturally from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. When methane breaks down chemically in the atmosphere and combines with other chemicals, it produces ozone, atmospheric scientists say. Like methane, ozone is a greenhouse gas, and it is also the main component of smog. Researchers say that even something as simple as tightening a leaky gas pipe can make a difference, reducing the amount of methane released into the atmosphere.
ABOUT FLUID DYNAMICS: The study of the physics of fluid flow is called "fluid dynamics." A fluid is a material that deforms continuously when sheared. The most common fluids are liquids and gases; however, plasmas and plastics can also be fluids. Understanding the mechanical processes that underlie fluid flow under different temperatures and pressures is important to applications such as the aerodynamics of aircraft, automobiles, and ships; the flow of petroleum and water through pipelines; weather prediction; biological function in the human body; and even traffic engineering. Fluid dynamics is also essential to supersonic flows such as shock wave formation, detonation, and supersonic transport.
The American Physical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America, the American Statistical Association, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.